Colombian President: Cuba Helping Terrorists Behind Bogotá Police Bombing

Trump to discuss Venezuela with Colombian president: White House

Colombian President Iván Duque denounced the communist regime of Cuba on Wednesday for its alleged role in a recent terrorist attack at a police academy in Bogotá.

Cuba, he asserted, supported the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Marxist guerilla group believed to be responsible for the attack. The bombing killed 22 people and injured dozens in the nation’s capital.

Duque made the remarks during a meeting on Wednesday with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

“This was a terrorist act and a crime against humanity that was planned, for months, with the participation and knowledge of the Central Command of that organization, which has had members in Cuba, and that was participating actively in many of those decisions,” he said. “While I am the president of Colombia, the only protocol we will accept is for the Government of Cuba to hand over those responsible for this crime, so that they can be brought to justice.”

Relations between the two countries improved in recent years under the leadership of Juan Manuel Santos, who attended peace negotiations in Havana with another Marxist terrorist organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which eventually culminated in an agreement rejected by the Colombian public but pushed through Congress.

Cuba was once a longtime member of the short list of nations the U.S. State Department designated State Sponsors of Terrorism for its ties to the FARC and Middle Eastern terrorist groups like Hezbollah. President Barack Obama removed the country from the list despite Havana maintaining all the relationships that placed the regime on the list initially.

Duque, who succeeded Santos last August, has taken a much tougher stance against left-wing terrorism. Asked about the prospect of possible negotiations with the ELN, Duque indicated that they would have to release all hostages, stop all criminal activity, and accept criminal responsibility for “crimes against humanity.”

“If they have a true will for peace, they must begin, first, for the release of all the hostages and for putting an end to all criminal acts,” he said. “Those responsible for these crimes cannot be disregarded, and those guilty of crimes against humanity will have to comply with the penalties proportional to those that have become creditors for this behavior, which represents nothing but the degradation of human life and the worst form of corruption.”

After meeting with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Duque also urged the international community to keep the pressure on the socialist regime in Venezuela, declaring that Nicolás Maduro’s grip on power would soon slip away. Colombia remains the country most heavily affected by its neighbor’s humanitarian crisis and expects to receive up to four million Venezuelan refugees in coming years.

“I think the days for this dictatorship are about to end, and we have to continue working on that,” he said. “President [Juan] Guaidó, who is the person about to lead this transition in Venezuela, has strong support and we need to give him even stronger support.”

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